The Keys of Babylon

Travellers and migrants are the focus of this new work of fiction by prize-winning poet and prose-writer Robert Minhinnick. In a series of seemingly loosely-connected short stories he introduces a kaleidoscopic array of characters and settings. For some, like the Jewish banker's wife uprooted from New York to Israel, or Mohammed ensconced in an expensive English seaside apartment off the profit from selling 'rescued' antiquities from his native, war-torn Iraq, exile, though not necessarily chosen or desired, can prove a comfortable enough alternative. But for the poor, the trafficked, the political or economic refugees, leaving home may be simply a matter of survival, leading to a lonely, hand-to-mouth, even dangerous existence. From Latinos in the US or Albanians and Poles in Britain, to country dwellers vainly seeking the 'keys of Babylon' in the city, all have been driven by the dream of better future. Whether the pain of exile is leavened by memories of home, or sharpened by new oppressions and dangers, Minhinnick subtly reveals the common threads that bind the disparate experiences of the displaced as he brings the individual narratives together on a single day.

Each place of exile is economically, vividly evoked with Minhinnick's unfailing eye and ear for the detail that brings alive character, mood and place. This thought-provoking and compassionate book challenges prejudice and reveals the psychological as well as the physical journeys undertaken by the uprooted.
 

Reviews

  • ‘Minhinnick’s powerful work has an epic quality.’ 

    The Independent

Robert Minhinnick

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Read about the author...

Publication details:

The Keys of Babylon
Seren (2011)

292pp

Translation rights:

Mick Felton
Seren
57 Nolton Street
Bridgend
Wales, UK

mickfelton@serenbooks.com
www.serenbooks.com